Houjian Cai

Associate Professor
  • Post Doctoral Fellow, Prostate cancer Biology, University of California Los Angeles (2011)
  • Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Tennessee (UT) (2006)

In the Lab

The goal of Cai lab is to interrogate the molecular mechanisms in facilitation of tumor progression and provide the scientific rationale for cancer treatment. Numerous oncogenic proteins require fatty acyl modifications to carry out their functions in cancer cells. Protein acylation, including myristoylation and palmitoylation, is particularly essential for leading these proteins to the correct location at the cytoplasmic membrane, thereby facilitating molecular functions. The Cai lab uses state-of-the-art techniques to:

  • Manufacture extracellular vesicles encapsulating CRISPR machinery for treatment of prostate cancer.
  • Investigate how protein acylation regulates oncogenic signaling and tumor progression.
  • Investigate molecular mechanisms of how protein acylation facilitates tumorigenesis, and identify therapeutic approaches of targeting protein acylation for cancer treatment.

Research Interest

  • Extracellular vesicles for protein delivery
  • Protein myristoylation/lipidation regulate tumorigenic activity in prostate cancer
  • Fatty acid metabolism in regulation of prostate cancer progression
  • Epithelial-Stromal interaction in prostate cancer
  • Targeting AR signaling


  • Publications by Houjian Cai may be found at PubMed.